The General Assembly starts tomorrow, and it is important to update everyone on a few important things when it comes to this session and maneuvering during COVID and the new administration.
We have been working diligently to gather as much intel as possible when it comes to protocols for lobbying during this session, and thus far, this is what we know:
The majority of legislators are solely taking virtual meetings or have a strong preference for them. There are a handful that will allow in person meetings, though they have their own COVID protocols in each office (i.e. proof of vaccination and/or booster, limit to number of meeting attendees, and scheduling ahead of time), and of course, there is another handful that are open to meeting in person and do not have any safety protocols in place.
When it comes to attending committee meetings, thus far, we are awaiting confirmation for what safety protocols are in place, but as of today, the meeting rooms will only allow capacity to fill the number of seats – meaning no standing room. Also, they will allow virtual testimony, and the process for that remains the same as last year’s registration process. Check out our How-To guides on testifying virtually in the House and Senate!
The new speaker-designee of the House, Delegate Todd Gilbert (R), on the 7th made an announcement about the: “House COVID Mitigation Policies for the 2022”; which has since been followed up with this document, pages 1 – 3 are the most beneficial to us and our members as lobbyists.
With this being said, there are a lot of changes, a lot of things still up in the air, so we have had to make some adjustments. We want to encourage virtual attendance to the General Assembly as much as possible, and to help with that, we are holding our lobbying meetings virtually, every day at 8 am starting on Monday, January 17, 2022. Please note that if you plan to attend our lobby meetings, it is important to register by clicking this link or going to our "Lobby w/ Us" page here on the website. At this time, we as a team will be limiting our in-person lobbying attendance to specific days and only for the most necessary legislator meetings and committee meetings for health and safety. Should you and your union members want to lobby in-person, please let us know. Again, these changes are as of today, and it is key that we remain adaptable as the COVID cases increase, and the tides shift on the legislation effecting our workers. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated. Please take care of yourselves during these times, and let’s protect our working families across the Commonwealth.
Should you have any questions or concerns about this session, please do not hesitate to contact myself, Julie, or Destiny.